As stunning as the and his arrest an were late last month, a brief court appearance by McDonald last Friday proved equally incongruous to the charges against him.
McDonald, 70, entered court slightly hunched over in a light blue jumpsuit, looking every bit his age. He required the use of headphones for the hearing impaired during the brief hearing in which Camille Bosworth from the Marin County Public Defender’s office deferred McDonald’s plea on the charges until Friday morning.
McDonald, who has been the proprietor of the at 74 Throckmorton Ave. for 45 years, was arrested there at around 3 p.m. on March 23 during a that had brought downtown business to a halt.
Neighbors said they were stunned at the size and force of the raid, in which agents from the West Contra Costa County Narcotic Enforcement Team (West-Net), the Marin County Major Crimes Task Force and the California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement stormed the tiny storefront wearing helmets and shields.
Agents spent several hours searching the Pleasure Principle, as well as McDonald’s home in Fairfax and his van that was parked outside his store. The agents found 15 to 20 pounds of methamphetamine or ephedrine, an ingredient used in its production, according to Tim Jung, West-Net task force commander.
Jung said agents also found $29,000 in cash and two loaded guns, a revolver and a semiautomatic rifle.
The raid capped off a investigation that went back two months, Jung said, though he declined to comment on the origins of the investigation or why his agency was involved in a Marin bust.
McDonald has appeared in court four times since his arrest and has deferred his entry of a plea each time. He remains in Marin County Jail on $75,000 bail.
McDonald faces eight felony charges, according to Deputy District Attorney Sean Kensinger. Those charges include possession for sale of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance while possessing ephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of suspected drugs while armed with a loaded gun, maintaining a location for drug crimes, possession of ephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine and transporting and selling a controlled substance.
Equally confusing to McDonald's neighboring business owners was the allegation that he had $29,000 in cash in his possession, despite the fact that he had fallen behind on rent payments over the past year and faced possible eviction from his landlord Steve McNamara, who’d given McDonald until the end of March to move out of the space.